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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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CALEB (‘dog,’ one of the numerous animal names in the OT which testify to early totemistic conceptions). The son of Jephunneh ( Numbers 13:6 ). As an individual , he appears as one of the spies who were sent to ‘spy out the land’ of Canaan. He represented the tribe of Judah, and, together with Joshua, advocated an immediate attack upon the land; the fear of the people he denounces as rebellion against Jahweh ( Numbers 14:9 ); this, however, is resented by the people, who threaten to stone both him and Joshua. The carrying out of this threat is frustrated by the appearance of the Shekinah (‘the glory of the Lord’) in the Tabernacle ( Numbers 14:10 ). As a reward for his faithfulness Caleb is specially singled out for Jahweh’s favour ( Numbers 14:24 ; Numbers 14:30 ; Numbers 14:38 , Deuteronomy 1:36 ). He is thus one of the great champions of Jahweh.

As a name of a clan , Caleb (= Calebites) formed a branch of the children of Kenaz, an Edomite tribe, who settled in the hill-country north of the Negeb; they had possessions also in the Negeb itself ( Joshua 14:13-15 , 1Sa 30:14 , 1 Chronicles 24:2 ff.); they ultimately became absorbed in the tribe of Judah.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Caleb'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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